How to Choose a Course for Your Event Need to decide where to hold your golf event? The answer is not necessarily the nearest golf course, nor the fanciest. Consider these factors in determining the best place to play:

1. Before you determine where to hold the event, consider the goals and objectives of the tournament. Remind yourself why you are organizing a golf event.

2. Try to get a general feel for your guests' skill levels. For instance, if your attendees are serious golfers, you may wish to reserve a golf course more challenging than one where you might gather your employees for fun and laughs. Don't automatically rule out the short par-3 course downtown, and don't feel obligated to reserve the upscale daily-fee club in the foothills.

3. Consider the needs of your guests. Out-of-town guests may appreciate a golf resort setting, while booking the same course for local clients may cause some consternation at a golf club where hotel guests receive top priority.

4. Check for adequate off-course amenities. If the tournament venue must accommodate off-course functions such as receptions or awards ceremonies, make sure there is ample space for everyone.

5. Evaluate the facility's services. Can the golf club staff accommodate your group? For instance, are there enough attendants and golf carts? Can the clubhouse take care of your food and beverage needs?

6. Be flexible with your date. The fee to reserve a golf course is usually the biggest expense, and if you are flexible you might find a bargain. The best dates are those when the facility most needs your business and you can still ensure a strong turnout for the event.

7. Choose a convenient starting time. Your starting time must allow everyone to start out at a reasonable hour and arrive in time to register, warm up, and play. In other words, if the course is 40 miles out of town, don't schedule a 7:30 a.m. shotgun start.

A few more tips: Invite players. Make sure your guest list includes only those who will actually participate. While there's a lot of satisfaction in inviting celebrities and higher-ups to your tournament, unless they can actually attend and play, it's a drain of your time and theirs.

Have a publicity plan. A common error is to assume that simply by hosting a tournament, you are creating a newsworthy event. Find a "hook" that separates your event from all the others-anything a little out of the ordinary, such as exceptional prizes or celebrity participants.

Consult a PGA or LPGA golf professional. Chances are that many of the invitees routinely play in similar events, so a slight change in format may leave a more favorable and lasting impression. A golf professional can assist you with options.

Consider the team pairings carefully. Keep your goals in mind when you take into account golf skill levels and handicaps, social objectives, business objectives, mixed foursomes, and any special requests by invitees.

Allow enough time for the event. While you don't want to encourage slow play, be reasonable in your expectations. Allow at least five hours for groups to play a round, and do not compress the time between activities.